Movie News

AICN's Russ Sheath watches Cameron Crowe's PJ20, 20 years of rock band, Pearl Jam!!

Published at: Sept. 30, 2011, 11:43 a.m. CST by merrick

Merrick here...

 

 

Our friend Russ sent in this look at PJ20, which premieres October 21 on PBS and is also making limited theaterical rounds (HERE is a calendar of screenings).    PJ20's soundtrack is available now, and/or a free track can be downloaded HERE

Here's Russ...

----------------------


It is impossible to watch Cameron Crowe's PJ20 and to not feel a pang of nostalgia for a time of Image Comics, baggy cheque pants and Wayne's World. Yet to resign this journey through the history of rock legends Pearl Jam to a mere trip down memory lane does both the film maker and the band a great disservice.

Pearl Jam defined the 'grunge' movement, the musical and cultural wave that swept the early 90s and arguably the last alternative music scene to take on a truely mainstream appeal on the youth of the day.

Arguably the most accessible of the bands born of the Seattle sound, Pearl Jam's 20 year history is chronicled in the movie PJ20, the centrepiece of that anniversary.

Film maker and long time PJ collaborator Cameron Crowe presents a documentary that charts those 20 years from formation in the wake of tragedy to milestones and formative points in the bands history, telling a story that in places stylistically echoes his own love letter to the music of his own youth, Almost Famous.

If you want commentary on the whole 'grunge scene' you would be better off checking out the movie 'Hype' on DVD, a far broader look at the Seattle scene.

PJ20 offers a refreshingly different take as Pearl Jam eschewed the legendary Sub Pop record label that was synonymous with Pearl Jam contemporaries, Soundgarden and Nirvana and is the focal point of many Seattle based rock stories.

Crowe, who interviewed the band early in their career for Rolling Stone and featured them in his Seattle-centric movie  Singles, clearly connects with a band that has famously forgone press and record label demanded conventions. In turn the notably private rockers open the doors on aspects of the bands history and share their experiences in a way they may never do with another film maker.

Crowe is the instrument through which the band tell their story in a series of poignant moments that are far from the strict 'album by album' approach seen in other recent rocumentaries. The meeting of band members, the deaths of Mother Love Bone frontman Andrew Wood and Kurt Cobain are all milestones in the bands history and are presented in heartfelt archive footage and new interviews with band members.

Likewise, the tragic death of fans during a Pearl Jam set in Denmark affected the band to the core and they speak about this with an uncharacteristic openess, further cementing how the band have committed to this project, opening their hearts and allowing others close to them, such as Soundgarden's Chris Cornell, rocker Neil Young and Crowe himself to offer their thoughts.

If Crowe is the instrument through which the band chronicle their history then this movie is truly a heart felt thank you to the friends and fans who have guided them on their 20 year journey.

As I glance around the theatre I notice there isn't a single person younger than their early 30's and this emphasises that Pearl Jam aren't bowing to any pressures to appeal to younger audiences and are indeed a band comfortable with the fact that they have peaked and passed their commercial success.

Pearl Jam have grown with their fans and in doing so you get the distinct feeling that if Pearl Jam decided not to play another show or record another album they would be entirely comfortable in that decision, again wearing their non-conformist ways on their sleeve. It may well be that same 'we're going to do it our way' approach that may be they key to their longevity and the sincerity of this movie.

Crowe crafts archive footage, current interviews and live performance as the films narrative is driven by the band, taking on an almost conversational tone and feel and while he forgoes the obligatory 'rock star at home being a family man (with the odd fleeting exception) he does present us with a more intimate insight than we have been given before. Front man Eddie Vedder in particular offers some pause for thought and insight into his famous intensity.

Is PJ20 for everyone? No, it is very much for the fans of the band or the era, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't check it out as Crowe offers us a rare insight of a band who really are 'doing it for the fans' and are very much still 'Alive'.

Readers Talkback

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  • Sept. 30, 2011, 11:45 a.m. CST

    I have a buddy in St. Louis who loves Pearl Jam so much, he'll read this

    by THE_CHOPPAH

    with stars in his eyes and cock in his hand.

  • Sept. 30, 2011, noon CST

    HA I live in St.Louis and saw it at the Tivili.

    by eric haislar

    It was a good Doc. Has it's issues for sure but it was a excellent look at the band.

  • Sept. 30, 2011, 12:03 p.m. CST

    I stopped paying attention to Pearl jam

    by mr.underwater

    When they were attempting to be the Fugazi of the frat-hippy-jam-rock scene. But, instead of playing self-booked shows for a $5 ticket price, they weren't playing any shows while whining about ticketmaster's monopoly. It just seemed very lame and forced. And not that I was a big fan to begin with, but it made me lose any and all interest. That siad, I'll probably check out this doc when it hits PBS to see if I missed anything.

  • Sept. 30, 2011, 12:08 p.m. CST

    My gf lived 3 blocks away from Vedder in West Seattle...

    by Cheif Brody

    She'd see the dude out in his yard cutting his own lawn with a push lawn mower. Modest home. Kids playin in the yard. <p> I think, in some ways, Grunge was a movement in which musicians made music and fought hard to NOT become "rock stars" in the traditional sense. It was more about the music and the fans than the artists themselves. <p> I really miss that work ethic in today's music scene. I'll definitely will be checking this out.

  • Sept. 30, 2011, 12:17 p.m. CST

    One of the seminal, alternative bands of the 90's from Seattle

    by ewokstew

    Yet the doc is not showing in Seattle. Okaaayy...

  • Sept. 30, 2011, 12:25 p.m. CST

    And while I'm at it, I never really liked the term "grunge"

    by mr.underwater

    But could sort of see how it could be used to describe a band like Mudhoney. I could not for the life of me see how it applied to a band like Pearl Jam, as there was absolutely nothing "grungy" about them. It was like calling Fleetwood Mac metal.

  • Sept. 30, 2011, 12:41 p.m. CST

    'Alternative' to what?

    by Spandau Belly

    I'm sooooooooo original! Ha! Ha!

  • Sept. 30, 2011, 12:47 p.m. CST

    Pearl Jam "lame and forced"? Ha! I don't think so.

    by WINONA_RYDERS_PUSSY_JUICE

    Pearl Jam were as genuine as they come. I bet they didn't like being labeled Grunge by the mass media, either. Pearl Jam > Nirvana, imo.

  • Sept. 30, 2011, 1:08 p.m. CST

    AIC > Pearl Jam

    by Bodacious_Crumb

  • Sept. 30, 2011, 1:11 p.m. CST

    Mediocre Filmmaker Profiles Mediocre Rock Band

    by Aquatarkusman

    Hey, why did I put Paul Westerberg and Smashing Pumpkins on the Singles soundtrack, again?

  • Sept. 30, 2011, 1:43 p.m. CST

    I think PJ may have been genuinely perturbed by ticketmaster

    by mr.underwater

    But they also genuinely didn't do anything to counter it, execpt whine and grandstand. While their integrity paragons Fugazi were setting up their own shows outside of ticketmaster's rule, Pearl Jam were setting up Rolling Stone interviews and canceling concerts.

  • Sept. 30, 2011, 2:12 p.m. CST

    Choppah means himself of course, he shouldn't be so shy

    by alexander

    This band were kind of like my beatles growing up I guess, until becoming familiar with Sonic Youth. Any extra insight is much appreciated here.

  • Never a huge PJ fan, but I love that Vedder quote.

  • Sept. 30, 2011, 3:26 p.m. CST

    alan_grant_lives

    by THE_CHOPPAH

    No, but I'm not ashamed to admit that I wack off regularly to THE LAST WALTZ. Call it the Neil Diamond Effect. COMIN' OUT YEAH-HA!

  • Sept. 30, 2011, 3:53 p.m. CST

    Neil Diamond in the Last Waltz

    by mr.underwater

    is fucking amazing DRY YOU REYES!

  • Sept. 30, 2011, 4:04 p.m. CST

    Pretty much everyone in The Last Waltz is amazing...

    by SK229

    something like that could NEVER happen today in music for numerous reasons, chief among them, the total lack of genuine talent, let alone genius, present in today's musical landscape. Of course, those artists were all 10+ years on in their careers, but even if you expand it to mean artists of the last 20 years, what does that leave you with? I think there was a lot of talent in the late 80's and early 90's that kind of fizzled out very quickly after a promising start. It was also extremely varied... as a matter of fact, I very much enjoyed the scope of what was popular and available in the 90's. I never, in a million years, thought mainstream music would become what it is today. I mean, there is almost NOTHING that isn't thoroughly mediocre. The American Idol/iTunes/death of MTV effect I guess...

  • Sept. 30, 2011, 4:47 p.m. CST

    I challenge anyone here to name a song not off of Ten

    by performingmonkey

    And maybe you would say 'Alive' and that one that goes 'do do dooo doo do do doooo' (Black) because you saw them do it on the Tonight Show 20 years ago, or something. The fact that they are always labelled 'grunge' just goes to show how little most people know about PJ. As a fan of them, to an extent, I reckon they were decent up to Vitalogy but then just like any other mediocre rock act.

  • Sept. 30, 2011, 5:02 p.m. CST

    Sounding like your parents.

    by brad negrotto

    "Nothing that isn't mediocre?" Let us name a few: Amon Tobin, Radiohead, Grizzly Bear, Boards of Canada, Animal Collective, Yeasayer, Sufjan Stevens, MGMT, Joanna Newsom, Owen Pallett, The Books, Beirut, Four Tet, Megapuss, Sigur Ros... I pray the day I start complaining about those darn kids and there crazy music never comes.

  • Sept. 30, 2011, 5:27 p.m. CST

    Mr underwater.

    by john Slater

    If you watch the film then you will see exactly what PJ did to counter ticketmasters prices. Pearl Jam never ever defined themselves as 'grunge'. You are not a fan and this film is for the fans not for you. oh sorry, this talkback is for the self indulgent people who think we give a fuck what 'you' think hence the 'i' this and 'i' that, who exactly are you? i i i, me me me. Say something worth reading for christ sake and get your fucking facts right. Mentioning Mudhoney doesn't mean you know what you are talking about. Cameron Crowe made a documentary not just about PJ but about music and the creative explosion that happened during the early 90's.

  • Sept. 30, 2011, 5:28 p.m. CST

    performingmonkey

    by vanchimera

    Motherfucker, I can name them by album, in order. Don't underestimate the power of being a fan.

  • Sept. 30, 2011, 5:38 p.m. CST

    performingmonkey

    by THE_CHOPPAH

    Tremor Christ.

  • Sept. 30, 2011, 5:40 p.m. CST

    It's Fudgepack Friday!

    by THE_CHOPPAH

    Today's contestant is ... NICOLE KIDMAN! So, CHOPlings, does Ms. Kidman allow meat cannons to fire Down Under? Let's hear it!

  • Sept. 30, 2011, 6:01 p.m. CST

    I live in Seattle and was a huge PJ fan....

    by professor murder

    ....until Vitalogy. I loved Ten and thought VS was OK, but once they switched drummers and mellowed down a bit, I started losing interest. I will still always love that early stuff, but on the flipside, I don't hate their other stuff either. I'm just 'content' I guess. 'Do the Evolution' was a pretty tight song/video though. Pearl Jam is Pearl Jam though. They did their thing and deserve the rewards for their hard work, and they have the 'Dave Matthews Band' type of fan whom will always follow them and see them every year they come through like a religious holiday. Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Stone Temple Pilots, Soundgarden, Alice In Chains. Those are the five bands that constantly revolved through my cassette player in the early 90's. HAHA, yeah...I said cassette player.

  • Sept. 30, 2011, 6:07 p.m. CST

    Saw Pearl Jam live.......The Ramones opened for them

    by thelordofhell

    I rushed the stage and bashed around all during the Ramones set, then I sat down and watched Pearl Jam while I was coming off my Ramones high.

  • Sept. 30, 2011, 6:13 p.m. CST

    Mirror Ball.......Citizen Dick

    by thelordofhell

    Pearl Jam worked best as a backing band. :-)

  • Sept. 30, 2011, 6:23 p.m. CST

    Haters will hate

    by Jaka

    Their albums are still great and they're one of the best live bands on the planet. They still play large, sold-out arenas, doing two to three hour shows where the audience sings portions of the songs without a single cheesy word from the stage. Also, they're selling a special limited 3 disc blu and dvd of this doc on their website. It contains three separate versions of the film (theatrical, band centric and fan centric) with bonus footage on each disc. That's the only place you can get that set.

  • Sept. 30, 2011, 6:42 p.m. CST

    CHOPPAH

    by bloody_shit_on_my_dick

    She was married to Tom Cruise, so of course she takes it up the ass. Scientologist's don't fuck pussy, only ass.

  • Sept. 30, 2011, 6:50 p.m. CST

    what exactly were they supposed to do?

    by WINONA_RYDERS_PUSSY_JUICE

    Pearl Jam are slaves to the corporate world just like the rest of us. Who the fuck is Fugazi? Oh that band that wrote 1 good song and can't sell out a mid-sized theater?

  • Sept. 30, 2011, 7:49 p.m. CST

    First album was good, second album was amazing...

    by Ice Paul

    ...then I didn't really click with Vitalogy and then they kind of just made soft-rock versions of their general sound from then on out it seems. Still, Vs. is just superb.

  • Sept. 30, 2011, 7:58 p.m. CST

    peaked...really?

    by Lukin

    Cannot believe this amateur was sent to "review" this. Stick to what you're good at son...saying Htchcock bores you :(

  • Sept. 30, 2011, 8:39 p.m. CST

    Love PJ

    by Lucky13

    Really wish this played closer to mid-Phoenix. Can't wait to buy the blu-ray though. Like a lot of people who grew up with them, I loved everything thru Vitalogy. Then No Code came out and really fucked with me. I was too young to enjoy it... Just wanted some more 'Ten' and was angry that I wasn't getting it. Now, No Code thru Riot Act contains some of my favorite stuff. "Nothing as it Seems" is AMAZING. Anyway... one of the last great bands. Thank your respective God(s) that they still produce new music. Unless you enjoy Lady Gaga and those neo-boy bands with mascara and nail polish and such.

  • Sept. 30, 2011, 9:15 p.m. CST

    A nightmare realised...

    by stankratz

    My Pearl Jam being the subject of an AICN talkback!!

  • Sept. 30, 2011, 11:26 p.m. CST

    aw choppah, you flatter me.

    by STLost

    I need to purchase my lube and kleenex for when it hits PBS in a few weeks. I asked erichaislar to take me as his date but I was denied!

  • Anything was better than 80's fucking hair metal. And of course everyone agreed with this, so then the term 'alternative' lost its meaning. But the alternative/grunge lot still couldn't manage a decent rhythm, so half of them killed themselves or OD'd. (Though not the funky Chilli Peppers of course.)

  • Oct. 1, 2011, 1:06 a.m. CST

    Saw it in Ottawa...

    by ColloquiallyBorn

    Gotta say that I was glad this was done. I have been a fan since the first album, saw them in show since the early 90's up until they came by in Ottawa Canada a couple of weeks ago. As usual, they gave one hell of a show without all the hoopla that "big" rock bands have like Pink Floyd, Kiss, ect ect.. They gave it all, a long but great show that makes you say "Ok, so I paid 80$ to see this band, but damnit, they played so many songs for so long that they made every cents worth it!" now that's how bands should be doing their shows! Give it back to the fans! Simply amazing! Ok, the next week I saw PJ20 for the one day Ottawa performance, and as I said before happy to have seen it, happy to know they shared stories. But if I may, Cameron Crowe is a very good director, a great music journalist, but I still think that the documentary is now his thing. "Out of whack" is how I can also describe this movie, very long in the beginning about how the went from Mother Love Bone to Mookie Blaylock to Pearl Jam, then they go from one event to another from year to year then back to try to explain other stuff... What I really liked about Foo Fighters' Back and Forth was that it went from Nirvana to Foo Fighters and on, and showed the band growing thru the years not discriminating about what happened to all the guitarists, just dish it out and show the linear growth of the band. Where PJ20 didn't deliver for me was the Drummer situation, never really explained except for a mention of all their names in order by Mike, but we don't hear from them, what happened, good or bad. The Seattle sound was shown, the Nirvana scuffle shown, but the internal part of the band was kept a little bit out of play. Like at some point Mike reveals that for the early years, Vedder wasn't so much the lead voice or decision maker for the band, it was mostly Gossard, but he says that Vedder is now more the man in control of the band now. We would've loved to have understood this, but it's not explained or shown. I would've loved to hear Gossard and Ament talk about their side projects and why they did it in order to be able to swing away from the PJ crazyness or Mike's views on Mad Season and the loss of his good friend Layne as they did for Kurt. Gives us the info, not the things we know so much about in the first place. And that's what a documentary should be. That's where I felt that Crowe wasn't able to capture and deliver on this project. While I just went off saying the bad stuff, I still need to say that I will need to buy the Blu-Ray box set from the PJ site because it's still something that gives us a lot to hear about what they're thoughts were ect, and one thing that I really REALLY liked about this movie is the part where we see Stone and Jeff at the hearing against Ticket Master and see the idiot Politicians being all "groupie" and acting like f*cking retards while the two guys in a Rock and Roll band make valid points and look like they're the only sane people there. That's what we wanted to see, see them fighting for what they believed in, that's what PJ did, they fought for the fans, they gave to the fans. That's the documentary that needs to be done along with the internal dirt, why the hell not! Foo Fighters even admitted that they almost broke up because of internal issues why not talk about that! And about making the music! I still give it an 8/10, but having those points in there would've made me give them the all mighty 10/10.

  • Oct. 1, 2011, 1:08 a.m. CST

    About the Crowe comment...

    by ColloquiallyBorn

    but I still think that the documentary is now his thing." should've read "but I still think that the documentary is NOT his thing.

  • Oct. 1, 2011, 3:20 a.m. CST

    winona_ryders_pussy_juice

    by mr.underwater

    Fugazi is the band that Vedder name-dropped in EVERY SINGLE INTERVIEW about ticketmaster and how it's possible for a band to live without them. If you have issue, take it up with your boy...

  • Oct. 1, 2011, 6:05 a.m. CST

    Loved Eddie Vedder's songs on Into The Wild.

    by SiouxCitySarsaparilla

    Folks can be very political about the whole "grunge" label and a lot of Nirvana fans are unhappy with the label too. They feel those that apply it usually have a poor understanding of the Seattle scene of the late 1980s. I suppose you can argue once a band transcends its scene the vocabulary is appropriated by national level journalists and that's fair enough. Some of those writers are men like Cameron Crowe. A rock critic can't have grown up everywhere at once and has to find a voice that feels like it could have done and that way the best bands are heard far and wide and feel immediate and urgent wherever you live if the spell is a strong one. Of course it's hard to say where word of mouth stops and marketing begins and that's a symbiotic relationship many are uncomfortable with. If the music is worth a damn there's no credibility in knee jerk hipster bullshit whereby fans abandon a scene the moment the average Joe starts to dress like a singer they heard on the radio. That's not cool not knowing your own taste in music. The fans who copy fads and the fans who run away fads are as lacking as each other. The real fans are the ones who know what they like and can share or respect other fans enjoyment and apathy alike without the need for a weather vane. I think the term "grunge" became problematic for too many people. Suffice to say Pearl Jam are the great American rock band of the 1990s. I don't know who you'd put in that lineage. Maybe The Grateful Dead maybe Metallica maybe Mastodon. Everyone will suggest different names. They're the best at what they do. The whole narrative about 1980s American rock music requiring an alternative is silly. The Replacements, The Pixies, Husker Du, Sonic Youth, REM, Dinosaur Jr, Pavement etc. REM emerged from that scene to be bigger than Guns N Roses after that band imploded. Neil Young and Aerosmith refound popularity in the 1990s and had never gone away since the 1970s when they were considered cool. The grunge replacing hair rock was just a marketing line too many people bought into and if it caused anyone to dislike music they had previously been fond of well shame on them. Similarly in Britain at the same time the whole Britpop nonsense despite the fact Blur were ripping off Pavement and Oasis' first record had the same distorted guitar sound and sneered vocals that could easily be labelled as grunge. It's daft as well to say that there's no good music around today. Every era has musicians. Not to know that is to buy into the publicity myths too easily. Both by the rights holders to classic albums and advertisers selling contemporary light entertainment. Pay less attention to what you imagine other people supposedly like and be happy with what you enjoy instead of vicariously triangulating everything. What a sad phenomenon how so called music fans criticise others for liking the wrong stuff and yet if something once cool becomes popular the same fans jump ship and criticise the public for buying what five minutes ago the old fans were moaning everybody ought to like! That's not music that's needing to feel superior and any soundtrack will do. Speaking of which Cameron Crowe puts together great soundtracks. There's plenty of cool music from the last ten years or so that's been appreciated by those who sought it out. A lot of the bands an outlet like Pitchfork covers can't get the same coverage or audience in this era of digital consumption being so fragmented even if their champions pretty much become the new Rolling Stone magazine but a band such as Arcade Fire shows its possible to be pretty much self employed and make your own albums and get finance and become an international level touring band that wins big awards while feeling like an independent. And these days if you make good music it can be easily heard like no other age before if only you can get someone's attention which is the difficult trick. There's so much of everything readily available that the perfect storm of critical and popular consensus and a bottle neck new medium like television with a captive and fascinated audience seeing things for the first time and the cultural conditions of the post-war age are very unlikely to come along soon as they did for Lennon and McCartney whose songs represented a marriage of song writing and business and technological development and cultural change and hard work and opportunity. Over time the more obscure classic songs of today will become known in popular films and such and there will be reassessments of the stand out pop music of the day that separates itself from the morass. You'll have people pretending they always liked the right stuff back in the day and people who fondly remember stuff they thought no-one else was into. That's always the way. And nothing ever seems quite as grand as the first time you discover something you like when television feels new. Some times that's an illusion that carries wider cultural weight and sometimes it's not. A lot depends on personal preference and where and when you happen to be at the right age.

  • Oct. 1, 2011, 7:49 a.m. CST

    the_choppah

    by alexander

    Stop making Sense, Davids eyeballing. That or any moment from Never Say Never. The Last Waltz just makes me a little peckish and maybe I'll check if there's a beer in the fridge with the other parts of my brain/crotch. Same head stratcher for you as PJ and Vedder there.

  • Oct. 1, 2011, 9:48 a.m. CST

    Impact

    by Kentucky Colonel

    Eddie Vedder delivers more emotion in a single vowel than some guys manage in a whole career. "Given to Fly" anybody? That one was written by Mike, BTW. I'm one of those "Dave Matthews"-type fans, except I hate those Dave Matthews fans. I understand...but I don't get the DM appeal. The rock and roll fiddle was done much better by Mellencamp, but then again I'm a native Kentuckian and now a Hoosier-transplant (just across the river, though).

  • And you all know it! 10 was really their own good album. Their music has been very bland ever since. Alice in Chains was the best band to come out of Seattle.

  • Oct. 1, 2011, 10:27 a.m. CST

    Very bland???

    by I am_NOTREAL

    Ha, yeah right...you have clearly either heard none or extremely little of the music they have put out in the twenty fucking years since Ten. Another possibility is that you know next to nothing about music. Another is that you're trolling to get your rocks off and in that case I have already paid you more attention than you deserve. Good day and good luck.

  • Oct. 1, 2011, 11:03 a.m. CST

    This film was just a chance for Crow to perform fellatio on PJ

    by Cureguy

    He was the most shamefully biased choice to make this film.How can he even pretend to make an objective film when he is such an obvious fan of the band? PJ are the most obnoxious example of a whiny,self absorbed,self-righteous,faux politically "important" band of pussies. Everything I hate in a rock band. If I hear PJ by mistake,I immediately have to put on AC/DC just to cleanse my brain of the saccharin bullshit they try and call rock music.

  • Oct. 1, 2011, 11:05 a.m. CST

    Re: palefire

    by SK229

    Haha... I guess I do sound like my parents. You know I had started typing a paragraph qualifying what I meant there and then erased it, thinking, 'They'll know what I mean', but I guess not. What I was going to add to that was that this is the first time in the history of pop music where there really isn't an outlet in the mainstream for great stuff to get through and find a much larger audience. I've heard of some of those bands you've mentioned, but I work 12 hours a day in television and when I want to jerk off to my thing, my thing is movies and music from 10+ years ago. By the time I'm done with that shit, I don't think, "Let me search online for the bands everyone is saying are good and then randomly download and listen to tracks to find new stuff that I like." I think you have to work harder than ever before to find the good stuff and I don't think that's good for the music business. Hell, I know it isn't. It may be good for the fans that like to feel superior by name dropping every time someone says there's no good music anymore, but I assure you that the musicians themselves would rather make a good living and have more exposure.

  • Oct. 1, 2011, 1:03 p.m. CST

    Favorite Album: Yield

    by MrBoinfoint

    I was a teenager in 1991. Hated everything I was hearing on the radio. Hair metal and hip hop. Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Madonna. Milli Vanilla Ice Hammer bullshit. I responded by listening mainly to the Doors, Led Zeppelin and the Who. So I guess I was primed for the arrival of Pearl Jam. I saw one of their first shows in Detroit, playing at the Shelter/St. Andrew's. First time I saw anyone stage dive. I was a huge fan right from the beginning, from the slightly over-produced and clean "Ten" to the near perfect "Vs.", through the weird, angry "Vitalogy" and the aimless "No Code." I actually feel that "Yield" is their masterpiece. Given to Fly, Wishlist, In Hiding, No Way, all have more feeling than even some of the best, most well-known songs from the first two albums. I think it actually helps that the band matured somewhat, stopped yelling in anger about things they couldn't change, and started just singing about their lives. "I've stopped trying to make a difference" indeed. Also, I had gotten pretty sick of the 3rd and 4th generation alternative groups that sprung up in their wake, particularly the pointlessly angry and abrasive nu-metal bullshit. I was initially disappointed with "Binary" but listened to it again after "Riot Act" came out and realized that Nothing as it Seems, In Thin Air, Of the Girl and the rest were very well-constructed songs with interesting ideas. That's been the pattern since, in fact. They release a new album which I initially dislike, then revisit a year later and end up enjoying. They've definitely lost a bit of spark and hunger, and the righteous anger of "Ten" is missed, but they still put out great music 20 years later. That they are pretty much the only act from the 90's that still does this says something.

  • What a whiney, self absorbed, self-righetous' faux politically 'important' troll poster.

  • Oct. 1, 2011, 1:55 p.m. CST

    Mirrorballs act of love etc

    by alexander

    Does prove they were a great backing band to aye

  • Oct. 1, 2011, 2:46 p.m. CST

    mrboinfoint

    by cowsaysmoo

    Yield is a great album, but Vitalogy to me is their masterpiece. Last Exit, Spin the Black Circle, Nothingman, Better Man, Tremor Christ, Not for You, and of course Corduroy are all amazing. And who could forget the disturbing album closer, heyfoxymophandlemommathat'sme.

  • Oct. 1, 2011, 3:18 p.m. CST

    It's a little odd how many Pearl Jam fans are around these parts

    by mr.underwater

    But, I guess it just goes to prove that good taste in movies doesn't necessarily translate into good taste in other areas of culture.

  • Oct. 1, 2011, 3:24 p.m. CST

    mr.underwater

    by cowsaysmoo

    care to enlighten us with your wonderful taste in music then?

  • Oct. 1, 2011, 4 p.m. CST

    I thought they had a chance to turn into

    by proevad

    REM or The Stones or U2...ya know--biggest band in the world type of deal. Didn't happen. Good band, but with only really one near masterpiece album--kindof hard to call them great. I think Eddie is an amazing human being though. Kind man.

  • Oct. 1, 2011, 4:09 p.m. CST

    Once I saw Pearl jam on MTV Unplugged or something

    by mr.underwater

    And the band was rocking their brand of frat-hippy-jam-rock while singer dude was rolling his eyes to the back of his head and making lots of faces to show that he was really feeling the sounds. Suddenly, at one point he was feeling it so strongly, that he was inspired to produce a sharpie marker from his pocket and proceed to scrawl "PRO-CHOICE" on his arm. What is my wonderful taste in music? Well, no band that would ever do outrageously cheesy shit such as that.

  • Oct. 1, 2011, 4:30 p.m. CST

    Give us names!!

    by cowsaysmoo

    lol

  • Oct. 1, 2011, 6:13 p.m. CST

    mr.underwater

    by ColloquiallyBorn

    Pearl Jam is for people who know music, like that musicians actually write the songs they sing and not be mentioned as co-writers because they put in one word in the whole song. You have the right to your opinions but depicting this band has cheesy and shit like that you have to have actually only seen or heard of them once in your life. They battled Ticket Master for the fans, they have fought for festivals to go on when their budgets where non-existent by showing up at them and putting their names on it to help sales, they gave up the super culture of Rock and Roll icons and how much more money they could've made by stopping making music videos for a long time in order to show that the industry was just going way over board with everything. They fought every year to help make music better. Of course, we can't expect Bieber fans to like them.. So we understand that you can't help yourself from writing idiotic posts about a band you know nothing about, and that's ok... OH LOOK! BEYONCE GO RUN GET A PICTURE WITH HER SO YOU CAN TELL YOUR FRIENDS!

  • Oct. 1, 2011, 6:42 p.m. CST

    lol @ the Pearl Jam hate

    by WINONA_RYDERS_PUSSY_JUICE

    It's always been there. It usually comes from shallow people that only listen to pop radio.

  • Oct. 1, 2011, 7:44 p.m. CST

    mr. underwater

    by Stifler's Mom

    Disregard the political statements and turn up the volume next time Pearl Jam Unplugged is televised. Then kneel down before the power of exceptional rock and roll.

  • Oct. 1, 2011, 7:55 p.m. CST

    Crowe's Doc

    by OfficerJunior

    I flinch a little when I see my favorite band being ran through the ringer that is AICN. I caught this doc via on demand. This is a love letter to the band. There's very little objectivity, or balance. For true believers, that won't be a problem. My only issue with the doc is that it painstankingly detailed the early years and seemed to zip by the later years. Even the PJ20 book did that though. Bogdanovich's Running Down a Dream was really well done and extremely detailed, wish this had more like that. P.S. Pearl Jam is the greatest band on the planet, anyone not regularly jammin their last four or five records is missing out.

  • Oct. 1, 2011, 10:26 p.m. CST

    "hippy jam-rock" and other BS

    by I am_NOTREAL

    That comment is about as insightful as a brick wall. You're judging Pearl Jam on an MTV Unplugged from, what, 1992? MTV Unplugged itself is as extinct as the dodo, which really oughta tell you something. Enjoy your latest Bieber disc! Toodles!

  • Oct. 1, 2011, 10:50 p.m. CST

    Love to see the PJ support

    by Lucky13

    Keep fighting the haters, brothers! They never seem to give up. I strongly agree with the writing of their own music points. Hard to hate a real rock band that does this. For example, I find the Foo Fighters to be pretty bland most of the time, but I hardly 'hate' them or insult them every time their name is brought up. Why? Because they write their own music and don't use fucking auto-tune on every goddamn song. For the record, PJ is very possibly the greatest rock band of ALL TIME... without question the greatest of the last 20 years that's still kickin'. So for you guys who continue to hate on Pearl Jam... go listen to Boy George and "The Killers". Have fun with all that.

  • Oct. 2, 2011, 9:53 a.m. CST

    thx316

    by cowsaysmoo

    That was a very moving tribute. Keep on Jammin'.

  • Oct. 2, 2011, 10:48 a.m. CST

    Beautiful story, thx316!

    by Lucky13

    I'm about to copy/paste and email it to myself to keep... I share a very similar experience. While not quite as on the outside as you (but I think we ALL feel that way to one degree or another at any age, but especially those middle-school, high school years)... Pearl Jam was like a revelation to me as well. I never cared for the big 80's hair bands like Guns N Roses, Motely Crue, etc... All those bands that were written on everyone's book covers back in the day. I thought I must be the weird one, I was missing out... But I just couldn't connect to them. I'd see them on MTV and wonder why they tried so hard to look like women. I mean, go youtube the "Welcome to the Jungle" video... they were more fem then you can even probably remember. Like whoa. But I digress. I bought (or more accurately, my mother bought -- Hey, I was in 5th grade) the Ten CD after a friend had me listen to Jeremy a few times at his house. It was like nothing I had ever heard. Vedder's voice was entrancing, the lyrics so meaningful. It wasn't about 'look at me, I'm a rock star!'... He was telling stories, sharing experiences, letting out inner demons. This was no glam-rock nonsense that I had been forced to listen to for years. BTW, remember when CDs came in those really tall cardboard cases? Those were the days (but I'm digress-ing a again). The song that really did it for me... the song that I played on loop for days: Black. Listen to that song and then go try to listen to "Dr Feelgood". Ha. When's your next perm, Vince? Good, have fun with that. Release Me's lyrics are beyond intense... Come to think of it, most of Eddie's lyrics are. It makes me a little sad that people dismiss the band because they saw the Jeremy video on MTV 20 yrs ago... and just think of PJ as some angry, grunting band who's lead singer just rolls his eyes back like an attacking shark when he sings. Part of Vedder's charm was that he clearly wasn't very comfortable up there... he was/is an everyman. I can't stop from rambling now... Like THX said, there's so many thoughts/memories/songs/lyrics that connect with me that it's hard to put my feelings in cohesive words. Anyway, my point was... thanks for writing that out, THX --- very inspiring stuff.

  • Oct. 2, 2011, 12:47 p.m. CST

    I like how everyone assumes because I don't care for Pearl Jam

    by mr.underwater

    I must be into teeny-bopper top forty, because Peral Jam epitomizes real rock and roll, or something. Just typing that gave me king-sized douche chill. I don't think the words "pearl jam" and "real rock and roll" should ever appear in the same paragraph, let alone sentence. Somewhere, Little Richard is reading this and seriously considering taking back his gift to the world. Because obviously, we're not ready.

  • Oct. 2, 2011, 2:38 p.m. CST

    You mean "this" Little Richard?

    by Lucky13

    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-VbFaOhtGZrU/TahVKHFDWOI/AAAAAAAAC-0/rT_keiDLRNE/s1600/little+richard+01.jpg Yeah... I'm glad PJ came along.

  • Oct. 2, 2011, 2:42 p.m. CST

    I will forever love him for "Long, Tall Sally

    by Lucky13

  • Oct. 2, 2011, 2:43 p.m. CST

    * though

    by Lucky13

  • Oct. 3, 2011, 10:49 a.m. CST

    Thanks, mr. underwater

    by I am_NOTREAL

    I have not laughed that hard at a stupid TalkBack post in a long time. You have truly pushed the idiocy envelope, my friend. Little Richard...gift to the world...hoo boy. I'm saving a copy of that little jewel for when I need a laugh.